How to protect pallets during transit

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As a key part of a materials handling and logistics process, pallet optimization is a common practice within most warehouse environments. With warehouse space differing from business to business, there are a wide number of packaging products available that can not only help a business make the best use of the available truck or container space, but also maintain the products overall presentation when it arrives to the customer.

In 3 ways we address products and their benefits within the production environment. We touch on securing and loading pallets carefully, products which are specifically designed to help dispatch pallets more carefully and the practices which can be adopted to create a safer working environment.

Securing and loading a pallet

To make the most of the pallet footprint, distribute the total product weight across the whole surface area of the pallet. For a smaller dispatch, start loading from the center and work outwards.

For environments shifting pallet loads of delicate products such as fresh food or glass items, sandwiching an anti-slip sheet or cardboard layer pads in between new levels of stacked packages will ensure movement is restricted. Useable on either plastic, presswood or wooden base pallets, anti-slip sheets are ideal for use in harsh weather conditions with their water-resistant coating.

For businesses dispatching in pallet quantities, loading a pallet with pallet optimised cartons can mean faster and more efficient loading times, as operators spend less time searching for the right sized dispatch box to use. In warehouses and manufacturing environments, pallet optimised boxes and multi-depth boxes make the picking, packing and wrapping process more streamlined as it makes aligning the boxes much quicker and easier.

Dispatching pallets

Wrapping your pallets with stretch film will protect the quality and integrity of the product during transit.

With the use of an automatic stretch wrap machine pallets can be dispatched faster, allowing operators time to be utilized elsewhere. Stretch wrapping can help your business protect products more carefully and in turn reduce the chance of products getting damaged in transit.

Designed to form a barrier of protection against cosmetic damage, stretch film protection works best with a pallet top sheet, best suited for protecting not only the sides but also the highest layer of products which are exposed to harsher conditions.

By protecting and carefully aligning boxes in place as the pallet rotates to give an even coverage, stretch wrap is ideal for businesses that send out palletized goods on a daily basis.

For light sensitive products, black or coloured stretch film options are an effective choice. These options are also ideal for shipping products discreetly without making the contents visible, as well as making your pallet easily identifiable so allow couriers to process your goods more efficiently. For many ecommerce businesses, delivering directly to the end user is common and therefore the unboxing experience starts from receiving the pallet, making it is even more important to ensure everything is protected sufficiently.

Corner protectors are often an under used protective option on pallets, specially designed to absorb and protect delicate corners and edges from damage. Using these alongside transit monitors such as Tiltwatch or Shockdot are useful for keeping your courier aware of the way they need to handle your products whilst ensuring if any knocks do occur the products are still well protected.

Optimise your warehouse

Consider the benefit of optimising your warehouse space to increase efficiency.

By placing fastest-moving products nearest to the dispatch area, slower moving merchandise further back and excess stock (bulk pallets for replenishments etc) at the very back of your warehouse, process times are reduced with staff efficiency dramatically increasing.

To optimise your warehouse effectively, the use of the relevant shelving and racking systems will organise your pallets and products across less floor space to make better use of your available footprint.

Using the appropriate strapping to ensure pallet loads are stable during transit is important, whilst also ensuring logistics operators are properly trained on how to move a pallet safely. While forklifts and pallet trucks have made this more efficient, the use of pallet load warning signs are also important to  communicate and remind this in fast paced environments.

Pallet cones are a useful addition to remind the operator nothing must be stacked on top of certain pallets. Usually made from corrugated board these cones can be secured with the same strapping used to secure the load to the pallet.

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Rick Stanford

Rick has been a salesman in the packaging supplies business for more than thirty years. Now semi-retired, he divides his time between tending his allotment in north Devon, getting depressed at the continuing travails of his home-town football club Macclesfield Town, and sharing his considerable experience and knowledge with the readers of the Davpack blog. Davpack

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